After enjoying Ise Shrine for a while, we had time to explore the surrounding area: Ise City!
As we left the Shrine, we enjoyed a purification of our bodies and minds in the sacred river running through the Ise grounds. The water was clear and cool.
The bridge from Ise Shrine to Ise City is an iconic marker of the shrine, for it represents the transition from our “real” world to the spirit world. The torii gates also signify the entering into sacred space.
In Ise City we found a delightful mix of amazing street food and luxurious omiyage (souvenir) shops.
Being hungry and tired from our busy day, we were primarily focused on the food. Ise is famous for its udon noodles. They were incredibly delicious!
The area was a lovely place, filled with small traditional Japanese buildings and beautiful artisan goods. I couldn’t get enough of this sod roof that had plants growing out of it. The trees were also just about to flower.
As mentioned earlier, mikan fruit is a regional delicacy near Ise, so the juice was a common sight on the streets. It is so sweet and tangy, it tastes like an orange mixed with key lime. Very refreshing!
There were also street carnival games set up for visitors! This game promised boxes of sweets to those who could knock them down with the pellets.
We loved the little city, for it had a beautiful lively and traditional ambiance. This bridge reminded me of Japanese woodblock prints I had seen.
Of course, we couldn’t pass up the matcha soft serve ice cream on our last day of the field trip.